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France Probes Muslim Organizations Following Beheading of Teacher

People gather at the Place de la Republique in Paris, to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, the French teacher who was beheaded on the streets of the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France, Oct. 18, 2020. Placard reads "I am a teacher". (Reuters)

France's Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into a wide range of hate speech following the beheading of a history teacher last week.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that 80 instances of hate speech online had been investigated since Friday's attack and that 51 French Muslim organizations would be probed, as well.

"Not a minute of respite for enemies of the republic," Darmanin wrote Monday on Twitter.

The comments follow a weekend of countrywide rallies defending free speech and secularism in France after middle school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded Friday near his school in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

A national commemoration in honor of Paty takes place Wednesday.

Among the groups being investigated by the French government is the Anti-Islamophobia collective (CCIF), a group that tracks anti-Muslim attacks. Darmanin called the group an "enemy of the state."

CCIF, which expressed condolences for Paty's family and all teachers on social media, accused Darmanin of slander.

Nearly a dozen people are being held for questioning in Paty's killing, which took place as he returned home from class. They include the family of the suspect, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee identified by officials as Abdoullakh A., who police shot and killed shortly after he allegedly stabbed and decapitated his victim.